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Sunday, August 11, 2013

South Mountains State Park - a Well Kept Secret

When telling people I was going to head down to South Mountains State Park, I got a strange look as if they had never heard of such a place.  It is true that although it is common to hear others talk about places like Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls, I never hear anything about South Mountains State Park.  This is really a shame since this park has so much to offer to those who love the outdoors.

First, the park has many miles of great trout fishing streams containing predominately Brook Trout and Browns but I am told there are also Rainbows there as well.  These creeks are full of large boulders, rippling cascades and lined with many different species of trees.

One of many beautiful locations along the trail at South Mountain State Park
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013
Next, if you enjoy horseback riding there are wide trails cut through the woods to accommodate horses.  The way these trails have been created seem to make it easy  for any skill of rider.  There is a dedicated parking area for horse trailers and easy trail access for them.

For the hiker, there are endless options in this park.  I counted 19 trails total and I am sure there are others which are not part of the official list of trails. The length of the trails run from .5 to 5.2 miles and have various difficulty ratings.  Raven rock trail seems to be the most difficult as it zigzags through several switchbacks up the mountain.  If you only have time for one trail, I recommend you head up the High Shoals Falls Loop.  This is a somewhat difficult trail which takes you to the awe inspiring High Shoals Falls.  The view is well worth the hike.

High Shoals Falls
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013
In conclusion, I cannot find anything that needs improvement in this facility.  It is one of the best I have seen in North Carolina and would take many visits to discover all it has to offer.  My best advice is to stop by the park office and ask them the best parking areas and what is good during the time of year you are visiting.  Otherwise you might end up taking a trail that takes you away from the sites you wanted to see and leaves you exhausted.

A cascade near the bottom of High Shoals Falls.
Photo by Matt Cuda (c) 2013

1 comment:

  1. Been there several times. My wife and I love the place.